on October 19, 2001
If you ever wondered what the down side of the twenties were read this. The excess was all a grand show, an escape from post war realities. A whole generation seemed to refuse to grow up, at least for awhile. Maturity was forced upon Scott and in these short confessions he reveals that all was not well in paradise. He lived in a haze of liquor, that was the dream preserving liquid illusion. But reality was not to be fought off forever. This is as close to a biography as we have from Scott, and it is moving in the way it is moving to see an athlete we all wanted to believe would live forever come to his day of retirement. He had the ability or charisma compounded by artistic talent to embody not just his but a whole societies dreams. But his moment passed and by the time Scott wrote this his books were no longer the rage. What makes him such a tragic figure is that he never altogether let go of those first illusons, never went through a moment where he learned from them and let them go. And one senses just as he had the egotists ability to romanticize his life with his words he also had the ability to perhaps overdramatize his own demise. He was not a person to learn, become made of harder stuff, and continue. Still there is some good stuff in this book. His letters to his daughter( who also wished to become a writer) in which he urges her to read great authors including his own favorite Browning are touching and revealing.
on August 18, 2002
F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the dreams and aspirations of so many people when he wrote of the fabulous excesses of the 20's - a time not unlike the recent "get-rich-quick" mania of the Internet bubble, which also crashed, destroying many fortunes and lifestyles.
In The Crack-Up Fitzgerald writes equally poignantly of the agony of the aftermath of such excess and unfulfilled desires and social insecurities. He was able to capture all of this so clearly because it was the life that he and Zelda aspired to and, from time to time, lived. But they were always just on the outside, depending on the generosity of others both financially socially. He takes no prisoners.
It is no surprise that he is still being widely read. Don't miss Fitzgeral - it doesn't really matter which of his books you start with, you will find yourself moving through the collection.
on March 10, 2000
I came to this collection of autobiographical and other short stories after having read THE GREAT GATSBY for english A level. The contents of this book unlike Gatsby, are a backward look at the Jazz age, from the perspective of one of it's greatest godfathers. I never tire of reading these stories, whereas I found the Great Gatsby a little bit silly, this collection shows the true talents of FSF. It was the short autobiog pieces that really impressed me, specifically, My Lost City, and The Crack Up. I strongly urge everyone to read this.